Sport: PNG's Commonwealth gold medallist hungry for more
Papua New Guinea weightlifter Steven Kari reflects on winning a gold medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and his goals for the future.
Papua New Guinea's Steven Kari says all the hours of training were worth it after winning his country's first ever Commonwealth Games weightlifting gold medal.
The Pacific Games champion lifted a total of 349 kilograms to win the 94 kilogram division at Glasgow, delivering on his pre-tournament favouritism.
The 21 year old told Vinnie Wylie he was always confident going into his event.
STEVEN KARI: It's worth it to win gold medal for training for three times a day, it's worth it. Would I win gold or win nothing - a one tracked mind.
VINNIE WYLIE: And to do it for your country as well, Papua New Guinea. The first official gold medal for your country at the [Glasgow] Commonwealth Games. Obviously with what's happening at the moment, Dika [Toua] might join you on that podium but it must be good to get off the mark for Team PNG?
SK: And I'm very proud that I'm the first male weightlifter to win gold medal at weightlifting in Papua New Guinea so I'm really happy and really excited.
VW: You've won similar events before: you've won at the Commonwealth Championships, you won at the Pacific Games and also the Pacific Mini Games, so you're used to winning at this level, and I think you're ranked number one in the Commonwealth. Did that give you a lot of confidence going in or were there still a lot of nerves going into this event in Glasgow?
SK: [I was] very confident when I am leading number one in the Commonwealth. I know I can win gold medal. Whether I am ranked number one in the Commonwealth but when the competition comes it is different.
VW: And a total lift of 349 kilograms: were you happy with that [and] how much more do you think you can do?
SK: Exactly because I had to do that lift to win gold. If not I will win silver. Out there I was a little bit nervous. Whether I win or I lose I gave everything to win gold.
VW: Having won the gold in Glasgow do you have any messages for your friends and family, or the people back in Papua New Guinea, who are obviously very proud of your achievements?
SK: They're very happy, they're very excited [and] they can't wait to see me back home.
VW: What's next for you - is the next big target Rio?
SK: The next target is the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea and the main one is Rio Olympic Games.
VW: How much better do you think you can get? Have you reached your peak, do you think you can still lift more?
SK: That's why I am going back to train hard even to improve a lot to give a good competition.
VW: I was speaking to Ryan Pini last week, just as the Games were starting, and he was saying that having won the gold medal in Melbourne eight years ago, I think he's one of only two previous PNG gold medallists at the Commonwealth Games and he was hoping that somebody else would win a gold medal that could finally be the next generation of PNG athletes and winners coming through and it was time for other people to take that mantle. What does it mean for you now to be the face of Papua New Guinea's Commonwealth Games team and their push towards the Olympics?
SK: I don't know what to say. I want to be like Ryan winning the gold medal. I was very young when Ryan beat the Australian so I want to be like him, winning the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games. I followed his footsteps and now here I am with a gold medal.
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